Susanna Foo was born in Inner Mongolia and spent her early childhood in the Shanxi province of Northern China. Her father was a General in Chiang Kai-shek’s army, who fought against Mao Tse-tung. They escaped to Taiwan where Susanna grew up. In 1967, she came to the US to earn her Masters at the University of Pittsburgh. In 1979 she moved to Philadelphia to help her husband, E-Hsin, with the family’s restaurant, Hu-Nan. She then learned Hunan-style cooking from her mother-in-law and Chinese Northern-style pasta from her cousin. She acquired her love for food from her father who indulged in exquisite local lamb and duck dishes, and Imperial-style cuisine.
While at Hu-Nan, she met her mentor, Jacob Rosenthal, co-founder of the Culinary Institute of America. He taught her French-style cooking and encouraged her to attend the CIA. By 1987, she and her husband felt ready to strike out on their own, launching Susanna Foo’s Center City restaurant on Walnut Street. In 1994, Great Chefs taped her there for their Great Chefs – Great Cities series for the Discovery Channel.
In 2006, she opened a second restaurant, Susanna Foo’s Gourmet Kitchen, in the financial district of Radnor, Pennsylvania. In 2009, after 22 years, she closed down the original restaurant, and in 2015 she closed the Radnor restaurant. As of January 2016, she is preparing to open SuGa by Susanna Foo back in Philadelphia at 1720 Sansom Street. Stay tuned…..